Celebrity Monday: Q’orianka Kilcher

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Her name is Q’orianka and it means “Golden Eagle” in Quechua, the original language of Inca descendants across the Andes Mountains. Her father is of Quechua-Huachipaeri descent from Peru. Her mother, Saskia Kilcher, is a human-rights activist of Swiss-German descent, born in Alaska and raised in Switzerland. When she starred in the film The New World (2005), she learned some words of the Powhatan language and played the infamous character of Pocahontas.

Q’orianka starred as Pocahontas, along with Colin Farrell and Christian Bale, in the Academy Award-nominated motion picture, The New World (2005). She won the National Board of Review’s best breakthrough performance of 2006 and Alma Award for best Latin American actress in a feature film. Even though the film was a success, it only showed in 800 theaters worldwide. Not many people knew about this film in 2005 and probably have no clue about The New World in 2013.

The New World portrayed the real story of Pocahontas in the early 1600s. The plot was easy revealed the events of the genocide that the Powhatan people experienced in early colonial times. Pocahontas and John Smith did not speak a common language. They used body language and onomatopoeia to communicate with each other. They preferred silence throughout the movie and they understood their thoughts and feelings, and the imminent end of the Powhatan people. But I realized that John Smith was attracted to Indigenous culture, especially because the Powhatan people lived a healthy and peaceful lifestyle the  in nature. During colonial times, Euro-Americans were so attracted to Indigenous life, some abandoned their towns, villages, and homes to join their community. But this was a threat to England. The English (and American) government created laws were to forbid intermarriage between the Whites, the Blacks, and the Indigenous people. They also passed a law to forbid Whites to join Indigenous people in Indian Country. As early as the 1600s, Euro-Americans and Indigenous people were kept separate since then.

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Q’orianka is a human rights and environmental activist. She speaks on behalf of all related causes in order “to achieve what she regards as environmental justice and basic human rights.” She travels as a keynote speaker to colleges, youth events, libraries, and organizations that promote social justice awareness. She speaks on behalf of the Indigenous People in the Amazon and lends her celebrity voice to create a momentum with her fans and peers to protest and demand social justice. When she visits Peru, she goes to the Amazon rainforest to document the disastrous crimes that many international petroleum companies committed on Indigenous land. She speaks for the Shuar and Achuar people and protest to companies such as Texaco in the United States to clean up and repair $19 billion worth of damage in the rainforest.

She is a collaborator and supporter to several international and national NGOS and organizations, such as Youth Ambassador Amnesty International, Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian rainforest Federations, the Community for the Arts foundation, and Thursdays Child Turning the Tides.

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